IN reply to your news report about the latest planning demands of the operators of Hollands Garden Centre, Bromley Cross — namely to keep the disallowed polytunnels — local residents who have fought for the integrity of this last stretch of green belt in the area have come to expect the arrogance and fanciful claims that this business indulges in as usual.

Those behind this business dealt with planning officials for some considerable time before the 2007 permission (“this proposal has been the subject of substantial and prolonged negotiation between the agent and officers of the Local Planning Authority,”— extract of report to Committee, September 20, 2007).

The site owner was well aware of the requirements placed upon him and negotiated and agreed by him. Above all, a full-blown garden centre was not permitted in this green belt. The owner built one anyway, relying on a co-operative planning system to rubber stamp it all later.

As regards the five giant polytunnels, it is utterly misleading to claim that they are not intrusive.

These are very much “in the face” of footpath and railway users and severely curtail the open character of the land to the rear of the site.

The various planning permissions (approved after substantial debate at committee and following numerous site visits) consistently included one that the polytunnels harmed the green belt and had to come down. In fact, July, 2009, was the original date for removal and the site owner has retained them now for some 26 months longer.

The last (updated) planning committee approval was late in 2010 which addressed the Hollands saga once again.

Approval was given until March 31 this year only when the polytunnels were to be gone — instead the site operator stocked up with plants over the winter, surely at their own risk. They now claim the business cannot possibly comply with this planning condition.

Hollands could have chosen to help themselves by adhering to the original detailed planning consent in 2007 that they submitted and agreed to and used the central buildings to grow and stock plants.

The fact they they chose to use these buildings to sell pet food, patio furniture and Christmas gifts etc is all down to them.

Put your hand in the open fire if you wish, but don’t blame the flames for the acquired skin burns.

The planning committee has spent long enough with the never-ending carry on at Hollands. Moreover, the committee approved car parking places for the users of the planned football pitches on the area where the extensive polytunnels stand and would be unlikely to back down from that condition, since additional football car parking spaces was a crucial requirement for the approval.

Site manager Don Faulkner, I suggest that you desist playing your worn-out violin strings and put your case direct to the Planning Inspectorate.

Bolton’s planning committee has other business to attend to these days than considering yet another report about noncompliance of planning policy at the site still known by many as Birtenshaw.

Name and address supplied